EGU2020-16090, updated on 19 May 2021
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Towards a consistent retrieval of cloud/aerosol single scattering properties and surface reflectance

Marta Luffarelli1, Yves Govaerts1, Sotiris Sotiriadis1, Carsten Brockmann2, Grit Kirches2, Thomas Storm2, and Simon Pinnock3
Marta Luffarelli et al.
  • 1Rayference, Brussels, Belgium
  • 2Brockmann Consult GmbH, Hamburg, Germany
  • 3ESA, ECSAT, Oxfordshire, UK

The CISAR (Combined Inversion of Surface and AeRosols) algorithm is exploited in the framework of the ESA-SEOM CIRCAS (ConsIstent Retrieval of Cloud Aerosol Surface) project, aiming at providing a set of atmospheric (cloud and aerosol) and surface reflectance products derived from S3A/SLSTR observations using the same radiative transfer physics and assumptions. CISAR is an advance algorithm developed by Rayference originally designed for the retrieval of aerosol single scattering properties and surface reflectance from both geostationary and polar orbiting satellite observations.  It is based on the inversion of a fast radiative transfer model (FASTRE). The retrieval mechanism allows a continuous variation of the aerosol and cloud single scattering properties in the solution space.

Traditionally, different approaches are exploited to retrieve the different Earth system components, which could lead to inconsistent data sets. The simultaneous retrieval of different atmospheric and surface variables over any type of surface (including bright surfaces and water bodies) with the same forward model and inversion scheme ensures the consistency among the retrieved Earth system components. Additionally, pixels located in the transition zone between pure clouds and pure aerosols are often discarded from both cloud and aerosol algorithms. This “twilight zone” can cover up to 30% of the globe. A consistent retrieval of both cloud and aerosol single scattering properties with the same algorithm could help filling this gap.

The CIRCAS project ultimately aims at overcoming the need of an external cloud mask, letting the CISAR algorithm discriminate between aerosol and cloud properties. This would also help reducing the overestimation of aerosol optical thickness in cloud contaminated pixels. The surface reflectance product is delivered both for cloud-free and cloudy observations.

Results from the processing of S3A/SLSTR observations will be shown and evaluated against independent datasets.

How to cite: Luffarelli, M., Govaerts, Y., Sotiriadis, S., Brockmann, C., Kirches, G., Storm, T., and Pinnock, S.: Towards a consistent retrieval of cloud/aerosol single scattering properties and surface reflectance, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-16090,, 2020.


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